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[14]

Monarchy, therefore, is the only government fitted to my mind; the only government in which I could be useful. Monarchy alone tends to bring men together, to unite them into compact and effective masses; to render them capable, by their combined efforts, of the highest degrees of culture and civilization.

I objected to this, that though the government in a republic is of less consequence than the government in a monarchy, individuals are of much more consequence; that men are more truly men, have wider views and a more active intelligence, where they do almost everything for themselves, than where, as in monarchies, almost everything is done for them, etc. He listened with great readiness to all I had to say,—for he is eminently elegant and winning in his ways,—and then replied:—

‘You refer, I see, to your country, as I do to mine. I am aware your country never could have made so much progress in so short a time under any other than a democratic system; for democracy, while it separates men, creates rivalships of all kinds, and carries them forward very fast by competition among themselves. Take a thousand individuals in America, and a thousand in France or our old Austria,—notre vieille Autriche, as he constantly called it,—and there will be many more marked and characteristic individualities among the Americans than among the Frenchmen or the Austrians; they will be more curious, too, more distinct, more interesting—even, perhaps, more efficient—as individuals; but they will not constitute so efficient a mass, nor one so likely to make permanent progress. Besides, democracy is natural to you; you have always been democrats, and democracy is, therefore, a reality—une veritye—in America. In Europe it is a falsehood, and I hate all falsehood,—En Europe c'est un mensonge. I have always, however, been of the opinion expressed by Tocqueville, that democracy, so far from being the oldest and simplest form of government, as has been so often said, is the latest invented form of all, and the most complicated. With you in America it seems to be un tour de force perpetuel. You are, therefore, often in dangerous positions, and your system is one that wears out fast,— qui s'use vite.’

I said, ‘A young constitution easily throws off diseases that would destroy life in an old one,’ etc.

‘True, true,’ he replied; ‘you will go on much further in democracy; you will become much more democratic. I do not know where it will end, nor how it will end; but it cannot end in a quiet, ripe old age.’


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